The sport of Cowboy
Action Shooting has been of great benefit to the shooting
community at large, not just to those who participate in the
sport. There are many of us who choose not to immerse ourselves
in the organized game, for whatever reason, but still have a
particular fondness for the guns of the Old West; I am one of
these people, and though I have only shot a couple of CAS
matches in my life and have no desire (so far) to take up the
sport on a regular basis, I REALLY love the Old West style
firearms. I appreciate the more modern firearms, and own many of
them, but nothing stirs my soul like a good single-action
revolver or lever-action rifle. Because of this, I owe much to
the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting; CAS has a great many
competitors across the country, and so there are a good number
of gun companies who are looking to serve the CAS market, by
producing exactly the kind of guns that folks like me, who do
not actively participate in CAS, most desire.
Italy has long been known for their
reproductions, to varying degrees of faithfulness, of the
original designs of such companies as Colt, Winchester, Smith
& Wesson, Remington, Henry, etc. Dating back to the
"Spaghetti Westerns" of decades past, when we watched
our white-hatted heroes (or, often, gray-hatted anti-heroes)
deal with the "bad guys", we were more often than not
looking at Italian reproductions of the original Cowboy guns,
rather than the "genuine articles". Sometimes we could
easily tell when the gun's details were not right, but more
often than not, we just enjoyed the show. Once the Italian
makers of these Cowboy-style guns, and their American import
partners, determined that a real market existed in those of us
who desired to own the same guns we saw on the Big (and small)
Screen, it was only a matter of time before the offerings of the
Italian makers were available in great and wonderful variety.
Over the past few years, Davide Pedersoli has
emerged as one of the finest of these Italian companies, and
their American import partner, Italian Firearms Group, has shown
itself to be a conscientious company that is concerned with
offering the American market the authentic gun designs it really
wants, at the highest quality on the market. A fine
example of this is the subject of this review: the Pedersoli
"Doc Holliday" 38 Special sixgun.
John Henry "Doc" Holliday was one
of the legendary figures of the Old West, and his story has been
told by Hollywood on numerous occasions, including one of my
favorite movies, Tombstone.
I see no need to go into the biographical
details of his life here: suffice it to note that often, the
truth of a man's life is not the truth we have grown accustomed
to hearing; often, the actual man is far more interesting and
complex than the legend (as was chronicled in the fine book "Lawmen
of the Old West Unmasked" by my friend Jesse
L. "Wolf" Hardin). Regardless of the truths
(or untruths) inherent in the legend of Doc Holliday, this much
I know to be true: The Pedersoli Doc Holliday sixgun is a fine
firearm, and one which Doc Holliday, the man OR the legend, would have been
proud to carry.
The frame of the Doc Holliday sixgun is
smaller than the typical Colt Single Action Army frame, and
often referred to today as the "22 frame"; this
smaller frame size makes the revolver a joy to carry and handle,
and is perfectly suited to the 38 Special cartridge for which it
is chambered. The barrel on my example is 5 inches, but the
sixgun is also available in 4.2" barrel length. To
aesthetically match the smaller frame, the length of the ejector
rod is shorter than standard - 3.5" to be exact - and the
scaled-down frame and ejector rod makes the barrel look longer
than it is: to my eye, the 5" barrel on my Doc Holliday
sixgun looks like a 6.5" barrel, while the 4.2" barrel
has the look of a 5.5" barrel. This makes the overall
appearance of the sixgun very pleasing to the eye, and the
proportions just "right" and "balanced".
Speaking of balance, the Pedersoli Doc
Holliday sixgun balances and handles perfectly. The grip frame
is particularly pleasing to me, as it is of a "Bird's
Head" configuration, meaning it has a rounded profile. I
have always loved a Bird's Head grip frame on revolvers with
light to moderate recoil, as the rounded shape just perfectly
fills the hollow of my palm; heavier-recoiling sixguns feel
better to my hand with the "standard" Colt grip shape,
or for really heavy-recoiling cartridges, the Bisley grip shape.
The Doc Holliday grip frame is perfectly suited to the
comparatively sedate 38 Special cartridge, and the shape is
close to that of Colt's 1877 "Lightning" revolver,
which Doc is reported to have favored. In fact, history reports
that Doc favored the nickel-plated 38 Colt Lightning sixgun,
which the Pedersoli Doc Holliday sixgun very strongly evokes,
although the Pedersoli Doc Holliday is a Single-Action sixgun,
rather than the Double-Action of the Colt Lightning (38) and
Thunderer (41) sixguns. The Single-Action lockwork is desirable
on such a sixgun, as the old Colt Double-Action (or
"self-cocker") was a rather delicate mechanism.
The grips (or stocks) themselves are very
nicely done, made of well-grained and well-colored walnut.
They are of one-piece design, which eliminates any visible
screws for a pleasing appearance, and are fully checkered in a
bordered pattern, with a "dp" logo carved into the top
corner of each panel. There is a bit of a palm-swell to the
shape, which greatly helps the shape of the grip frame properly
fill the palm. The grip panels are very well fit to the frame.
Shooting the Doc Holliday was a pleasure in
all respects, save one: my aging eyes do not do too well with
nickel-plated SAA-style sights unless the lighting conditions
are absolutely perfect. Still, when I was able to do my part,
the Pedersoli Doc Holliday proved to be more than equal to the
task, and quite accurate given the limitations of the sights and
The Pedersoli Doc Holliday sixgun is
available as shown in nickel finish, with "fire" blued
accents (screws, base pin, and base pin latch), or in
high-polish all-blued finish. Both available finishes are very
beautiful, but I love a nickel-plated sixgun, so the nickel
finish was particularly attractive to me. The moment I saw this
one, I was enthralled by it, and had to have it.
I have had this sixgun for almost a year now,
and I have really grown to love it. It is beautiful, it handles
perfectly, and it shoots wonderfully; in short, it does
everything I ask of it, which is simply to provide me many hours
of shooting pleasure. As I mentioned at the beginning of this
article, I don't shoot Cowboy Action matches competitively; I
also have no intention of taking this sixgun into the hunting
field or carrying it as a defensive sidearm, although it would
be suitable for either purpose. I seldom seriously shoot paper targets
with such firearms as these, preferring to shoot steel or
"targets of opportunity" such as acorns, rocks, and
pine cones. I have no need to think up a "good reason"
to own a sixgun like this Pedersoli Doc Holliday - it is FUN,
and fun is enough.
firearms are imported into the United States by the Italian
Firearms Group, who also imports Sabatti and F.A.I.R. Check
them out, you will be glad you did.
MSRP of the Doc Holliday sixgun as shown is
$995.00 US., and these sixguns are available now. To order the
Pedersoli Doc Holliday sixgun, contact
IFG at this link; they will let you know where you can find
one in your area.
Order Simply Rugged leather at http://www.simplyrugged.com.
Double Tap's DT Target ammo can be found at: www.doubletapammo.com.
order quality 38 Special ammunition online, go to www.midsouthshooterssupply.com,
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